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Whatever issue you’re facing with your kids as a law enforcement family, these episodes of Daniel Tiger for police families can absolutely help!
I have to say it: I absolutely love Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.
When I first learned about it (when my son was about one year old, I think), it didn’t appeal to me all that much. I thought it was just another cheesy kids’ show. Even its connection to Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood wasn’t all that enticing, because it’s not a show I remember watching when I grew up.
As my son got older, though, I realized how incredibly useful the show is. It’s cute, it’s friendly, and it helps me teach him a lot of important life lessons: lessons about friendship, responsibility, coping with negative emotions, expressing positive emotions, and dealing with the inevitable uncertainty of life.
Heck, it’s been a great tool for reminding me of the lessons he needs to learn – because sometimes I forget that everything is new to him. Sometimes the songs speak to me, too (like the time I was in a rage around the house and I heard the song, “When you’re feeling frustrated, take a step back and ask for help” – very timely.)
It’s truly a well thought out show for young kids to learn about life in a safe, loving atmosphere.
I’ve compiled some of my favorite episodes for law enforcement families to use with their children. While all the episodes will be useful to you (seriously, how do they know?!), these are the ones that will help you cope with the specific struggles of law enforcement life.
The episodes are listed in order of episode number. I’ve included both the episode number at the end of each page, plus where you can find them on Amazon Prime – where they’re currently a free offering with a Prime Membership.
The Best Episodes of Daniel Tiger for Police Families
When Daniel’s parents go out for the evening, Prince Tuesday comes to be his babysitter. As Daniel gets dressed and ready for bed, he talks about missing his mom and dad, but his babysitter reminds him that they’ll come back. with the song, “Grownups come back.”
When he loses his favorite stuffed animal right before bedtime, Daniel is especially distressed. When Prince Tuesday helps find him, he feels reassured that he’s been put in good hands by his parents.
Later in the evening, he’s happy to learn his parents have returned – just like they promised they would.
It’s not uncommon for your kids to be sad when their dad goes to work – or when you go to work, or when you go on dates, or any number of instances where they’re facing separation from their parents. Honestly, when you’re little, everything’s uncertain. Your world revolves around the most sure thing you know: your parents.
This song is seriously useful for every parent because of its versatility, but it’s especially helpful for law enforcement families because your husband isn’t going to be home on a regular schedule. It’s good to talk about the fact that he’s coming home, even if it’s super early in the morning or super late at night.
Where to find it: Episode #: 103; Season 1, Episode 3 on Amazon
Something Special For Dad
Daniel’s dad gets a letter from his father (also known as Daniel’s Grandpere). When Daniel sees how happy his dad gets, he decides to send him a letter, too. He and his mom go to the post office to learn how mail is sorted and delivered, then joins Mr. McFeely to give his Dad the letter.
The recurring strategy song in the episode is, “Making something is one way to say, “I love you.”
Having a father in law enforcement often means your kids have less one-on-one quality time with their dad – and that’s difficult to deal with. It can cause your kids to feel sad, lonely, or resentful toward the parent who’s gone, or even toward you.
Because of that, it’s important to help your kids find ways to connect with their dad. Helping them find ways to show their love can help build a stronger relationship, and actually foster more positive feelings toward their dad.
Not only will they enjoy making him happy, but if you spend time creating things with your kids and talking about how much Dad will love it, it helps build your relationship with them, too. It’s a win all around!
Where to find it: Episode #: 108; Season 1, Episode 8 on Amazon
A Stormy Day
Daniel’s friend O the Owl is at his house. They’re having fun playing outside in the rain – until a thunderstorm develops and they get scared. Mom Tiger sings to them, “Close your eyes and think of something happy.” When they follow her advice, they end up feeling a lot better.
Life is filled with scary things, and depending on how old/astute your kids are, having a parent in law enforcement means a greater exposure to a wider range of scary things – no matter how well you try to protect them. There are also news stories everywhere with negative things about law enforcement, and you never know what kids will say when they’re at school or at the playground.
When their father works night shifts, they might be extra afraid when things like thunderstorms happen, or when your husband inevitably texts and cryptically tells you not to leave the house. Heck, even you’re going to feel nervous when that happens – and kids pick up on that so fast.
The point is, there’s so many times you’re going to need to help them be brave when they’re faced with fear.
Helping kids learn to manage fear is so important. It will help them feel more in control by giving them the tools they need to conquer their fears, and it will help teach them the resilience they’ll need throughout their lives.
Where To Find It: Episode #: 119; Season 2, Episode 9 on Amazon Prime
Daniel Uses His Words
Daniel is having fun playing with his farm and farm animals. When he goes to the other room, his mom assumes he’s done playing and accidentally ruins his game, which makes him feel angry – but his mom doesn’t understand why, because he doesn’t say anything but, “Grr!”
Mom Tiger sings the song, “Use your words,” then helps Daniel use his words to tell her he’s feeling upset and frustrated.
Being able to clearly communicate what you’re feeling to others isn’t a skill that comes naturally to most people – it has to be taught. Especially because a lot of the feelings kids experience are completely new to them, they need your assistance understanding what they’re feeling, too.
Again, this is one that’s incredibly useful for any parent, but it might just be especially important with the life you lead. Because of all the uncertainty they’ll face in a law enforcement family, it’ll help both of you if you can understand them better.
Helping them be in tune with their emotions and able to communicate them also opens up lines of communication for you to tell them how you’re feeling. It can be hard to tell your kids you’re feeling sad or frustrated, but being open and honest with them will help you develop a deeper relationship and a greater sense of trust that you really do know what they’re going through.
Where To Find It: Episode #: 125; Season 3, Episode 9 on Amazon
Daniel’s so excited to be going to the library with his mom! But when they arrive, they discover that X the Owl (the librarian) is feeling sick, so he can’t run the library. Daniel discovers the importance of all the jobs people do in the neighborhood when he offers to fill in as librarian for the day.
The strategy song of this episode is, “Everyone’s job is important, we all help in different ways.”
This episode is a good jumping off point for a lot of different conversations. For one thing, you can use it to begin discussing all the things your husband does at work and why it’s important. That can lead into helping your kids understand why the hours have to be so different from their friends’ parents’ jobs.
It can also help you talk about the important jobs there are to do around the house. Kids truly love to help with chores, and if you let them help when they’re young (even if it takes you a little extra time) it can help them feel like important members of the family. It’s another thing you can do to help them feel more in control of their lives.
We also use this episode to talk about the things other people do around us that we don’t necessarily appreciate all the time – things like construction work, road maintenance, etc. It’s just a nice way to expand kids’ worldview.
Where To Find It: Episode #: 134; Season 4, Episode 10 on Amazon
Daniel’s Very Different Day
The episode is all about adapting to change. It starts with Daniel Tiger painting a picture for his friend, Katerina Kittycat, when he drips paint on his sweater. His mom helps him feel better when his favorite sweater has to be washed by singing, “Things may change, and that’s okay. Today we can do things a different way!”
The song recurs when he’s disappointed that Baker Aker doesn’t have the cupcakes he wanted to bring to a picnic, so he chooses something else with Dad’s encouragement. When the picnic is cancelled because Katerina is sick, Daniel and his family have a picnic at home instead.
The unpredictability of being a law enforcement family is tough on everyone, but as a kid, it can be especially hard. You don’t have the insight of an adult to know there are other things you can do or other days on which you can do it, so every disappointment feels that much bigger.
Not only that, but keeping a positive attitude for the sake of your kids can actually help you cope better with the change. It forces you to think about a fun alternative rather than focusing on the resentment you might feel yourself.
This coping method is helpful to become more resilient throughout life, and as they grow up, that’s a useful skill to have – regardless of being in a law enforcement family.
Where To Find It: Episode #: 318; Season 9, Episode 3 on Amazon
Bonus: Daniel’s Birthday (Episode 101, S1,E1 on Amazon) is another good resource for this topic! I like the “strategy song” for Daniel’s Very Different Day better, but you may prefer the other for your family – it’s all about what works best for you 🙂
Seriously, whatever issue you’re facing with your kids, there’s probably an episode of Daniel Tiger’s neighborhood that will help!
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